Dealing with Trauma? – pastoral exploration

My ‘Pearce Memorial Lecture’ delivered at the OSL Healing Ministries Triennial Conference Melbourne October 2017:

When discussing a person who is suffering from trauma, how many of you have you heard someone comment, “Get over it!” “Pray believing!” “Go for a walk, get some fresh air, smell the roses.”

But, “No!” – A flippant dismissal of trauma is a gross misunderstanding of trauma.

Tragedy strikes and trauma follows. Although the effects of the violence (emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual) may lag the tragic event by years, trauma does come.

Trauma from tragic events accumulates through life and can grow to become a toll too heavy to bear. When a person is suffering from trauma, they feel down, down, down! Crying, weeping, hopeless and alone, despairing, a failure, embarrassed, humiliated.

But neither is wallowing in trauma with the tears, sadness, brokenness and hopelessness an option.

Is it possible to deal with trauma at all? And if so, how?

Let me say at the outset that I make no claims to professional expertise in the area of trauma or dealing with its consequences. My aim this evening is to learn from the experience of four people in Australia who have suffered traumatic events as well as a key character in each of two novels (‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’) in order that we might better walk with sufferers of trauma. This is a pastoral and personal exploration of a complex and pain laden issue.

Dealing with Trauma? – a pastoral and personal exploration is the Pearce Memorial Lecture delivered at the OSL Healing Ministries Triennial Conference Melbourne Oct 2017.

Lecture here, Dealing with Trauma – OSL Pearce Memorial Lecture 2017 – John Harrower

A report on the Lecture, ‘Trauma is serious get help says Bishop Harrower’ by Stephen Cauchi, is in The Melbourne Anglican (monthly paper), November 2017, No. 564, p.12.

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